Children's Encyclopedia Selection. Related subjects: Europe; European Countries
| Anthem: Oj, svijetla majska zoro
"Oh, Bright Dawn of May"
Location of Montenegro (orange)
on the European continent (white) — [ Legend]
(and largest city)
|Official languages|| Montenegrin2
Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian and Croatian
|-||Prime Minister||Milo Đukanović|
|-||Annexed by Ottoman Empire||1499|
|-||Unification with Serbia||1918|
|-||Independence from Serbia and Montenegro||2006|
|-||Total|| 13,812 km² ( 160th)
5,019 sq mi
|-||July 2008 estimate||678,177 ( 162nd)|
|-||Density||50/km² ( 121st)
|GDP ( PPP)||2005/2006 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2007 estimate|
|-||Per capita||$ 4 818|
|HDI (2004)||0.788 (medium) ( 72nd)|
|Time zone||CET ( UTC+1)|
|-||Summer ( DST)||CEST ( UTC+2)|
|Internet TLD||.me ( .yu)4|
|1 The traditional old capital of Montenegro is Cetinje.
2 considered commonly as the Ijekavian dialect of the Serbian language.
3 Adopted unilaterally; Montenegro is not a formal member of the Eurozone.
4 .me became active in September 2007. Suffix .yu will exist until September 2009.
Montenegro ( Montenegrin/ Serbian: Црна Гора, Crna Gora (pronounced [ˈt͡sr̩naː ˈɡɔra], ), Albanian: Mali i Zi ([ˈmali i ˈzi])) is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south and borders Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast, Albania to the southeast. Its capital and largest city is Podgorica, while Cetinje is designated as the Prijestonica (meaning the old royal capital or former seat of the throne).
A principality in the Late Middle Ages, its independence from the Ottoman Empire was formally recognized in 1878. From 1918, Montenegro became a part of various incarnations of Yugoslavia. Based on the results of the referendum held on May 21, 2006, Montenegro declared independence on June 3, 2006 and is still currently the newest fully recognized country in the world. On June 28, 2006, it became the 192nd member state of the United Nations, and on May 11, 2007, the 47th member state of the Council of Europe.
Montenegro's native name, Crna Gora, is mentioned for the first time in 1296 by Serbian King Stefan Uroš I in his edicts to the Serbian Orthodox Zeta Episcopate seat at the Vranjina island in Lake Skadar. The origin of the term lies in the Slavic reference to excessively mountainous regions, often emerging in the medieval Serbian realm. Mentioned afterwards in most House of Nemanjić's edicts and in subsequent Venetian sources in the 13th and 14th centuries, signifying the area of the Upper Zeta, the name stabilized itself for a Principality in the second half of the 15th century under Lord Ivan Crnojević, mostly confounding erroneously the term with the dynasty's name, which both have similar roots. The region itself became remembered as Old Montenegro (Стара Црна Гора/Stara Crna Gora) as by the 19th century the The Highlands were added to the state, and Montenegro further increased its size several times by the 20th century during wars against the Ottomans, expanding its name to and annexing Old Herzegovina and parts of Old Serbia, most notably Metohija and southern Rashka. The state changed little to modern day reference, losing Metohija (western Kosovo) and gaining the Bay of Kotor. The name of the region gave the name to its people, the Montenegrins (Црногорци/Crnogorci).
The country's name in most Western European languages, including English, reflects an adoption of the Venetian term monte negro, meaning "black mountain", which probably dates back to the era of Venetian hegemony over the area in the Middle Ages. Other languages, particularly nearby ones, use their own direct translation of the term "black mountain" (e.g. Albanian: Mali i Zi, Bulgarian: Черна гора, Cherna gora, Czech: Černá Hora, Greek: Μαυροβούνιο, Mavrovoúnio, Polish: Czarnogóra, Romanian: Muntenegru, Slovenian: Črna Gora, Slovak: Čierna hora, and Turkish: Karadağ). Names from further afield include Russian: Черногория, Chernogoriya, Icelandic: Svartfjallaland and Chinese: 黑山 (pinyin: "hēishān")
The ISO Alpha-2 code for Montenegro is ME and the Alpha-3 Code is MNE.
The first recorded settlers of present-day Montenegro were Illyrians, the Docleata. In 9 AD the Romans conquered the region of present-day Montenegro. Slavs massively colonized the area in the 5th and 6th centuries, forming a semi-independent principality, Doclea, that was involved in Balkan medieval politics with ties to Rascia and Byzantium and to a lesser extent Bulgaria, becoming a monarchy in the late 11th century. By the end of the 12th century, fully incorporated into a Serbian realm, the newly acquired land, then called Zeta, was governed by the Serbian Nemanjic dynasty. After the Serbian Empire collapsed in the second half of the 14th century, another family came to prominence by expanding their power in the region, the Balšićs. In 1421 it was annexed to the Serbian Despotate, but after 1455 another noble family from Zeta, the Crnojevićs, ruled Montenegro that until the end of the 15th century became the last free monarchy of the Balkans, finally falling to the Ottomans in 1499, who annexed it to the sanjak of Skadar. For a short time Montenegro existed as a separate autonomous sanjak in 1514–1528, another version of which existed again some time between 1597 and 1614.
In the 16th century Montenegro developed a form of special and unique autonomy within the Ottoman Empire: the local Serb clans were also free of many bonds due to Montenegro's autonomy. Nevertheless the Montenegrins refused to accept Ottoman reign and in the 17th century raised numerous rebellions, culminating with the Ottoman defeat in the Great Turkish War at the end of that century. Montenegro became a theocracy led by the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitans, flourishing since the Petrović-Njegoš became the traditional Prince-Bishops. The Venetian Republic introduced governors that meddled in Montenegrin politics; when the republic was succeeded by the Austrian Empire in 1797, the governors were abolished by Prince-Bishop Petar II in 1832. His predecessor Petar I contributed to the unification of Montenegro with the Highlands.
Under Nicholas I, the Principality of Montenegro vastly advanced and enlarged several times in the Montenegro-Turkish Wars and achieved recognition of independence in 1878. Modernization of the state followed, culminating with the draft of a Constitution in 1905. Political rifts for the first time emerged between the reigning People's Party that supported democratization of the ruler's autocratic regime and unconditional union with Serbia and the minor pro-monarch True People's Party. In 1910 Montenegro became a Kingdom. It initiated the Balkan wars in 1912 and 1913 in which the Ottomans lost all lands in the Balkans, achieving a common border with Serbia, but the Skadar was awarded to a newly created Albania. In World War I in 1914 Montenegro sided with Serbia against the Central Powers, suffering a full scale defeat to Austria-Hungary in early 1916. In 1918 the Allies liberated Montenegro, which was subsequently merged with Serbia.
In 1922 Montenegro formally became the Zeta Area of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and in 1929 it became a part of a larger Zeta Banate of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In World War II Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis forces in 1941, who established a puppet Independent State of Montenegro, liberated by the Yugoslav Partisans in 1944. Montenegro became a constituent republic of the communist Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), its capital renamed to Titograd in honour of Partisan leader and SFRY president Josip "Tito" Broz. More and more autonomy was established, until the Socialist Republic of Montenegro ratified a new constitution 1974 (however, this RFM remained a constituent republic of the SFRY).
After the dissolution of the SFRY in 1992, Montenegro remained part of a smaller Federal Republic of Yugoslavia along with Serbia.
In the referendum on remaining in Yugoslavia in 1992, 95.96% of the votes were cast for remaining in the federation with Serbia, although the turnout was at 66% because of a boycott by the Muslim, Albanian and Catholic minorities as well as the pro-independence Montenegrins. The opposition claimed that the poll was organized under anti-democratic conditions, during wartime in the former Yugoslavia, with widespread propaganda from the state-controlled media in favour of a pro-federation vote. There is no impartial report on the fairness of the referendum, as the 1992 referendum was totally unmonitored, unlike the 2006 vote, which has been closely monitored by the European Union.
During the 1991–1995 Bosnian War and Croatian War, Montenegro participated with its police and military forces in the attacks on Dubrovnik, Croatia and Bosnian towns along with Serbian troops. It conducted persecutions against Bosnian refugees who were arrested by Montenegrin police and transported to Serb camps in Foča, where they were executed.
In 1996, Milo Đukanović's government severed ties between Montenegro and the Serbian regime, which was then under Milošević. Montenegro formed its own economic policy and adopted the German Deutsche Mark as its currency. It has since adopted the Euro, though it is not formally part of the Eurozone currency union. Subsequent governments of Montenegro carried out pro-independence policies, originally restored by the Liberal Alliance of Montenegro, and political tensions with Serbia simmered despite the political changes in Belgrade. Despite its pro-independence leanings, targets in Montenegro were bombed by NATO forces during Operation Allied Force in 1999, although the extent of these attacks was very limited in both time and the area affected.
In 2002, Serbia and Montenegro came to a new agreement regarding continued cooperation and entered into negotiations regarding the future status of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 2003, the Yugoslav federation was replaced in favour of a looser state union named Serbia and Montenegro and a possible referendum on Montenegrin independence was postponed for a minimum of three years.
21st century independence
The status of the union between Montenegro and Serbia was decided by the referendum on Montenegrin independence on May 21, 2006. A total of 419,240 votes were cast, representing 86.5% of the total electorate. 230,661 votes or 55.5% were for independence and 185,002 votes or 44.5% were against. The 45,659 difference narrowly surpassed the 55% threshold needed to validate the referendum under the rules set by the European Union. According to the electoral commission, the 55% threshold was passed by only 2,300 votes. Serbia, the member-states of the European Union, and the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have all recognized Montenegro's independence.
The 2006 referendum was monitored by five international observer missions, headed by an OSCE/ ODIHR monitoring team, and around 3,000 observers in total (including domestic observers from CEMI, CEDEM and other organizations). The OSCE/ODIHR ROM joined efforts with the observers of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe (CLRAE) and the European Parliament (EP) to form an International Referendum Observation Mission (IROM). The IROM—in its preliminary report—"assessed compliance of the referendum process with OSCE commitments, Council of Europe commitments, other international standards for democratic electoral processes, and domestic legislation." Furthermore, the report assessed that the competitive pre-referendum environment was marked by an active and generally peaceful campaign and that "there were no reports of restrictions on fundamental civil and political rights."
On June 3, 2006, the Parliament of Montenegro declared the independence of Montenegro, formally confirming the result of the referendum on independence. Serbia did not obstruct the ruling, confirming its own independence and declaring the union of Serbia and Montenegro ended shortly thereafter.
On September 6, 2007 an adviser of the Prime Minister of Serbia called Montenegro a 'quasi-state'. Montenegro gave a protest list to the Serbian Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, Božidar Đelić, has apologized for this.
Some of the biggest cities and towns in Montenegro are:
- Podgorica (capital; 136,473 inhabitants)
- Nikšić (58,212)
- Pljevlja (21,377)
- Bijelo Polje (15,883)
- Cetinje (The former royal capital and the seat of the throne; 15,137)
- Bar (13,719)
- Herceg Novi (12,739)
- Berane (11,776)
Montenegro ranges from high peaks along its borders with Serbia and Albania, a segment of the Karst of the western Balkan Peninsula, to a narrow coastal plain that is only one to four miles (6 km) wide. The plain stops abruptly in the north, where Mount Lovćen and Mount Orjen plunge abruptly into the inlet of the Bay of Kotor.
Montenegro's large Karst region lies generally at elevations of 1,000 metres (3,281 ft) above sea level; some parts, however, rise to 2,000 metres (6,560 ft), such as Mount Orjen (1,894 m/6,214 ft), the highest massif among the coastal limestone ranges. The Zeta River valley, at an elevation of 500 meters (1,640 ft), is the lowest segment.
The mountains of Montenegro include some of the most rugged terrain in Europe. They average more than 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) in elevation. One of the country's notable peaks is Bobotov Kuk in the Durmitor mountains, which reaches a height of 2,522 metres (8,274 ft). The Montenegrin mountain ranges were among the most ice-eroded parts of the Balkan Peninsula during the last glacial period.
- Longest beach: Velika Plaža, Ulcinj — 13,000 m (8 miles)
- Highest peak: Zla Kolata, Prokletije at 2,534 m
- Largest lake: Skadar Lake — 391 km² (151 sq mi) of surface area
- Deepest canyon: Tara River Canyon — 1,300 m (4,265 ft)
- Biggest bay: Bay of Kotor
- National parks: Durmitor — 390 km² (150 sq mi), Lovćen — 64 km² (25 sq mi), Biogradska Gora — 54 km² (21 sq mi), Lake Scutari — 400 km² (154 sq mi)
- UNESCO World Heritage sites: Durmitor and Tara River Canyon, old city of Kotor.
Government and politics
Montenegro is defined as a " Civic, democratic, ecological and state of social justice, based on the reign of Law". It is an independent and sovereign Republic. It proclaimed its new Constitution on 22 October 2007.
The current Government of the Republic of Montenegro (Vlada Republike Crne Gore) is composed of the prime minister, the deputy prime ministers as well as ministers. Milo Đukanović is the Prime Minister of Montenegro and head of the Government. The ruling party in Montenegro ever since multi-party system was introduced is the controversial Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (DPS) (Demokratska Partija Socijalista Crna Gore), in coalition with the much smaller Social Democratic Party of Montenegro (SDP) (Socijaldemokratska Partija Crne Gore).
The President of Montenegro is elected for a period of five years through direct elections. According to the constitution, the President will represent the republic in the country and abroad, promulgate laws by ordinance, call elections for the Parliament, propose candidates for the Prime Minister, president and justices of the Constitutional Court to the Parliament, propose to the Parliament calling of a referendum, grant amnesty for criminal offences prescribed by the national law, confer decoration and awards, and perform all other duties in accordance with the Constitution. The President shall also be a member of the Supreme Defence Council.
The Montenegrin Parliament (Skupština Republike Crne Gore) passes all laws in Montenegro, ratifies international treaties, appoints the Prime Minister, ministers, and justices of all courts, adopts the budget and performs other duties as established by the Constitution. The Parliament can pass a vote of no-confidence on the Government by a majority of the members. One representative is elected per 6,000 voters, which in turn results in a reduction of total number of representatives in the Parliament of Montenegro. The current president of the Parliament is Ranko Krivokapić.
The present parliament contains 81 seats instead of 75 in the previous parliament. Parliamentary elections were held on 10 September 2006 and were the first since the proclamation of independence. The constituent parliamentary session took place on 2 October 2006.
A new official flag of Montenegro was adopted on July 13, 2004, by the Montenegrin legislature. The new flag is based on the royal standard of King Nikola I of Montenegro. This flag was all red with a gold border, a gold coat of arms, and the initials НІ in Cyrillic script (corresponding to NI in Latin script) representing King Nikola I. These initials are omitted from the modern flag and replaced with a golden lion.
The national day of 13 July marks the date in 1878 when the Congress of Berlin recognised Montenegro as the 27th independent state in the world and the start of one of the first popular uprisings in Europe against the Axis Powers on 13 July 1941 in Montenegro.
In 2004, the Montenegrin legislature selected a popular Montenegrin traditional song, Oh, Bright Dawn of May, as the national anthem. Montenegro's official anthem during the reign of King Nikola was Ubavoj nam Crnoj Gori (To our beautiful Montenegro). The Montenegrin popular anthem has unofficially been Onamo, 'namo! since King Nikola I wrote it in the 1860s.
During the era of communism Montenegro experienced a rapid period of urbanization and industrialization. An industrial sector based on electricity generation, steel, aluminium, coal mining, forestry and wood processing, textiles and tobacco manufacture were built up, with trade, overseas shipping, and particularly tourism, increasingly important by the late 1980s.
The loss of previously guaranteed markets and suppliers after the breakup of Yugoslavia left the Montenegrin industrial sector reeling as production was suspended and the privatization program, begun in 1989, was interrupted. The disintegration of the Yugoslav market, and the imposition of the UN sanctions in May 1992 were the causes of the greatest economic and financial crisis since World War II. During 1993, two thirds of the Montenegrin population lived below the poverty line, while frequent interruptions in relief supplies caused the health and environmental protection to drop below the minimum of international standards. The financial losses under the adverse effects of the UN sanctions on the overall economy of Montenegro are estimated to be approximately $6.39 billion. This period also experienced the second highest hyperinflation in history (3 million percent in January 1994) (The highest hyperinflation happened in Hungary after the end of World War II, when inflation there hit 4.19 x 1016 percent).
In 1997, Milo Đukanović took control over the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro (DPS) and began severing ties with Milosevic' Serbia. He blamed the policies of Slobodan Milošević for the overall decline of the Montenegrin economy, as well as Milošević's systematic persecution of non-Serbs. Montenegro introduced the German mark as response to again-growing inflation, and insisted on taking more control over its economic fate. This eventually resulted in creation of Serbia and Montenegro, a loose union in which Montenegro mostly took responsibility for its economic policies.
This was followed by implementation of faster and more efficient privatization, passing of reform laws, introduction of VAT and usage of Euro as Montenegro's legal tender.
According to 2003 census, Montenegro has 620,145 citizens. If the methodology used up to 1991 was used in the 2003 census, Montenegro would officially have 673,094 citizens. Most recent estimates stake somewhere below 700,000 inhabitants.
When the census was taken Montenegro was a non-national civic state. In the meantime, the Constitution was changed, hence it now recognizes the major ethnic groups living in it: Montenegrins, Serbs, Bosniaks, Albanians, Muslims and Croats. Ethnic composition according to the 2004 official data:
The latest poll from mid 2008 had given a changed ethnic distributions:
- 43.6% Montenegrins
- 33.1% Serbs
- 9.4% Muslims
- 5.1% Albanians
- 3.9% Bosniacs
- 4.9% others
Most citizens speak the Serbian language of the Iyekavian dialect. However, as of 2004 the moves for an independent Montenegrin language were promoted and with the new 2007 Constitution it became Montenegro's prime official language. Next to it, Serbian, Albanian, Bosnian and Croatian are recognized in usage.
Most Montenegrin inhabitants are Orthodox Christians, followers of the Serbian Orthodox Church's Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral. The religious institutions all have guaranteed rights and are separate from the state. There is a sizeable number of Sunni Muslims in Montenegro that maintain their own Islamic Community of Montenegro. There is also a small Roman Catholic population, divided onto the Achdiocese of Antivari headed by Primate of Serbia and the Diocese of Kotor that is a part of the Church of Croatia. Religious determination according to the census:
According the newest report, there are 24,610 total refugees from the Yugoslav wars in Montenegro, forming 4.2% of the total population. 16,136 are refugees from Kosovo after 1999 and 8,474 expelled from Croatia and Bosnia.
The culture of Montenegro has been shaped by a variety of influences throughout history. The influence of Orthodox, Slavonic, Central European, Islamic, and seafaring Adriatic cultures (notably parts of Italy, like the Republic of Venice) have been the most important in recent centuries.
Montenegro has many significant cultural and historical sites, including heritage sites from the pre- Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque periods. The Montenegrin coastal region is especially well known for its religious monuments, including the Cathedral of Saint Tryphon in Kotor (Cattaro under the Venetians), the basilica of St. Luke (over 800 years), Our Lady of the Rocks (Škrpjela), the Savina Monastery and others. Montenegro's medieval monasteries contain thousands of square metres of frescos on their walls.
The traditional folk dance of the Montenegrins is the Oro, a circle dance that involves dancers standing on each other's shoulders in a circle while one or two dancers are dancing in the middle.
The first literary works written in the region are ten centuries old, and the first Montenegrin book was printed five hundred years ago. The first state-owned printing press was located in Cetinje in 1494, where the first South Slavic book, Oktoih, was printed the same year. Ancient manuscripts, dating from the thirteenth century, are kept in the Montenegrin monasteries.
Montenegro's capital Podgorica and the former royal capital of Cetinje are the two most important centers of culture and the arts in the country.
Education in Montenegro is regulated by the Montenegrin Ministry of Education and Science.
Education starts in either pre-schools or elementary schools. Children enroll in elementary schools ( Serbian: Osnovna škola) at the age of 6; it lasts 9 years. The students may continue their secondary education, which lasts 4 years (3 years for trade schools) and ends with graduation ( Matura). Higher education lasts with a certain first degree after 3 to 6 years.
Serbia and Montenegro were represented by a single football team in the 2006 FIFA World Cup tournament, despite having formally split just weeks prior to its start. Following this event, this team has been inherited by Serbia, while a new one was organized to represent Montenegro in international competitions. On March 24, 2007, the Montenegrin national team came from behind to win its first ever fixture, 2-1, in a friendly game against Hungary at the Podgorica Stadium. On their 119th Session in Guatemala City in July 2007, the International Olympic Committee granted recognition and membership to the newly formed Montenegrin National Olympic Committee. Montenegro is set to debut at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Water Polo is one of the most popular sports in the country. Montenegro won the European Championships in Malaga, Spain on July 13, 2008 over Serbia 6-5 in a game that was tied 5-5 after four quarters. This was Montenegros first major international competition for which they had to qualify through two LEN tournaments. Montenegro’s first division in water polo consists of five clubs, all with an annual budget of one million Euros and more - VK Primorac Kotor (2007 and 2008 Montenegro champions), VK Jadran Herceg Novi (2006 champions of Serbia-Montenegro), VK Budvanska Rivijera Budva, VK Prcanj and VK Bijela. From the coming season 2008-09 they will be joined by a sixth club, VK Cattaro. Additionally, they have qualified for the Olympic games in Beijing and will be considered one of the favorites to win.